Reading Bulletin Board

Did you see Katie's post about building a love of reading at home and in the classroom?  Well, when I saw the Reading Alert Bulletin Board, I just knew I had to make one also!  I love the thought of gathering pictures of the students reading at home.  I didn't need to change anything up, so I pretty much copied Katie's board as closely as I could!
 These giant googly eyes are from Hobby Lobby.  If you don't have a craft store nearby, you can also pick them up on Amazon HERE!  I also picked up a couple of large bows :)

 The pictures of students reading at home will be layered on top of the yellow paper as the year goes on.
 If you are wanting to know how to make large bulletin board letters, check out THIS post for a little video tutorial!

Third Grade Math: Estimating Solutions

Happy Weekend, friends!  This is for all our Third Grade Teacher Friends out there!  We wanted to share a couple of games for Estimating Solutions with you!

To play this game students can use the monster number cards, a deck of cards, or index cards labeled 0-9.  It's best if they have a few of each number.  This game can be used for numbers of any size :)
Each student builds their addition sentence whether it is 2 or 3 digit (or higher).  Students write their equation and then round to estimate solutions.  The partner who calculates the highest sum is the winner of the round.  Once students get the hang of it they will realize how to arrange their cards to create the largest sum possible!  You can also play this with Estimating Differences.  Students just have to put the greater number on top or as their first number.  The student with the difference closest to zero gets a point for that round!
The next game is Monster Bingo.  This game is for estimating sums and differences of two digit numbers.  Of course I found a mistake after taking a picture.  This BINGO card's numbers have been fixed... goodness me!
There are six difference game boards so that students have different chances of winning the game.  You can do this whole group or in small groups.  Students solve the equation by estimating solutions.  Once they have a solution, students cover that number either with the monster eyes provided, or with counters/transparent chips.  If you don't write on the boards then you can save them from year to year!
 Those games are not included in Unit 2, so if you already purchased the unit, you will still want to grab the freebie!  Click HERE!  

In Unit 2 there are four skills that we cover...

Multi-Digit Addition:  Breaking Apart Addends of 3-Digit Numbers, The Associative Property, The Commutative Property, and 3-Digit Addition with Regrouping.
Week 2 focuses on 3-Digit Subtraction with Regrouping.  This concept can often times be repetitive and BORING!  We tried to keep the repetition that they need, but offer activities that are engaging and fun for our students :)
Week 3 is all about Estimating Solutions.  This week is full of FUUUUUUNNNNN!  We covered 2-digit sums and differences and 3-digit sums and differences.
Week Four is all about those pesky word problems.  Your students will learn how to conquer multi-step problems :)
You can check out Third Grade Unit 2 HERE!

Before I go, I wanted to share a few new math manipulatives that I ordered and just love.  These jumbo dice are just too much fun.  There are five different dice and they are foam... which is perfection!  They can be used during whole group or even given to students that are making good choices for games.
I also bought a regrouping kit for Joelle to use at home.  She will start working on that soon, and she isn't a huge fan of math.  Girlfriend loves to read, but compute... notsomuch!  So, I thought that might make it a little more visual and interesting for her.  I also found jumbo double dice.  Nothing fancy about them other than the fact that they are a larger than your average dice!  You can click on any of the pictures below to find these items on Amazon :)
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!!

10 Reading Response Ideas

After my post last week about ways we can engage our students, I wanted to follow up and give some ideas on activities we can do during reading in lieu of using worksheets all the time.  If you caught my FB Live then you know that I don't think worksheets are ALWAYS terrible.  Here's my opinion:

1.  They should be used in moderation.
2.  My students should be seeing the skill addressed in many other formats as well... did we discuss, use manipulatives, write about it, play games, practice... or am I just giving a worksheet and hoping they get it?
3.  We do not differentiate with one worksheet.  Cutting a worksheet in half is not differentiation.  That is a modification.  If the students are just completing a different amount of questions or problems of the SAME caliber, there is zero differentiation going on.
4.  There is a time and a place for worksheets.  Sometimes we need to drill and assess.  We just don't want to waste our precious instruction time every single day answering 40 questions when we can show mastery answering 5 of the same type of questions.
5.  A worksheet is a worksheet is a worksheet.  While it's not terrible to do them every once in a while, they just aren't always best for our students.  There are so many other things we can do in class that will meet all of our students where they are.  We have visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learners in our classroom that need more than just worksheets all day.

So, keeping those things in mind, let's check out some activities that we can use that will engage our students during reading.

Index cards are a CHEAP way to respond to reading.  You can write on them, fold them in half, or use them for drawing pictures.  Use them for sequencing events, summarizing, or writing short stories.  They are the perfect little thing to use instead of paper every once in a while!  Colored index cards make things even more fun!
Just like index cards, sticky notes are CHEAP and we normally have them in excess!  Sticky notes are great for brainstorming because we can move them around on anchor charts and on assignments.  For some reason, students get super excited about sticky notes!  If you use different colors, it helps students organize information and create categories.
I love keeping spirals for different subjects because we can always pull them out to respond to our text.  Keeping things in spirals helps me to quickly check the work of my students.  Students can respond to a prompt about the story, give their opinion, make predictions, sequence events, write about characters, and so much more!  The possibilities with spirals are endless and you don't need to make any copies!
I've said it once and I'll say it again... I love a good craft.  I love bright paper.  I love cute eyes.  I just love it all.  My students have always loved making something that goes along with what we are reading in class.  It helps to make a connection, get them excited about the book, and it gives them something to discuss with their parents!  We can write about the story, characters, problem/solution, structure, and connections we made.  I also like to use crafts to display the skills we have been working on like you see on the tree.  That was a simple way to organize our main idea and details for the day!
I think anchor charts are so powerful.  Since we make them as a class, the students are much more invested in them than they are a pre-made chart.  We have brainstormed lots of words together, so they know where to look if they need ideas or the spelling of a particular word.  I also like to make charts where my students are the illustrators.  They just love looking at each other's pictures.  Charts are a HUGE focus of Rooted in Reading.  It's just an easy and effective way to hold a class discussion!
Interactive Notebooks are also a big part of Rooted in Reading.  More than anything, they help us go deeper with the text.  We aren't just reading and forgetting about what we read, we are responding to the quotes, structure, characters, and our connections.  These notebook entries help me stay on track as a teacher and take things to a deeper level.  They also provide my students with an opportunity  to think for themselves because they are writing based on how they interpreted a text.
I just think that flapbooks are a great way to organize information.  We can compare, write facts, show text evidence, practice vocabulary, describe characters, sequence events and much more!
Katie and I wanted to provide printables that could be used with any book (not just rooted in reading).  Sometimes you just need an organized space for your students to write on.  These are NOT worksheets because the students are not just filling in blanks or circling answers.  These printables help us to stay on track, work on a specific comprehension skill, and organize our writing in different ways.  I do still think they should be used in moderation, but if used correctly they can definitely promote higher level thinking!
Of course responding to reading with drawing is one of my favorites.  Whether we are doing a directed drawing or a personalized drawing, I just love kid art.  We draw characters, authors, animals, the setting, and anything else we can think of.  Normally we add something to our drawings like character traits, a writing piece, labeling, or a summary.  
When we are reading chapter books, a  lot of the times I will provide mini-booklets for my students to respond with.  We may write a little about each chapter, or focus on a certain comprehension skill for the day.  I also like using tri-fold booklets to organize the thoughts of students.  We may use them for book reports, to display information, or to discuss the different parts of a story.  Either way, booklets are great because they contain our learning for the week and I don't have to make a bajillion copies or pass out a ton of papers!

I hope that you found some ideas to incorporate different types of activities into your reading instruction.  There are probably 100 more ways to tackle reading in the classroom, but these were some of my favorites!  I think as long as you are changing things up, trying new ideas, and incorporating different types of activities then you are golden!  

Printing Tip: Dotted Lines

Have you ever printed off a gazillion copies only to look up and see that the dotted line is missing???  It used to happen to me ALL THE TIME.  No need to draw in those pesky cutting lines anymore! It's really very simple and will save you tons of time...
 When you go to print, you need to change your settings.  It may be under advanced, options, or something similar to that...
 Make sure the box "print as image" is checked!  And that's it!  It should save for future prints, but you may want to try that out before you take my word.  I have also used this trick from a PC even though I use a Mac at home :)
Just in case you need more of a visual, here is a quick video for you!

Mastering Math Facts

Have you been racking your brain to think of ways to get your students motivated to master those math facts?  Over the years I have tried a number of things.  To tell you the truth, I've never stuck with any organization or program that I've tried.  But then when regrouping rolls around each year, I'm so mad at myself for giving up!  Fact fluency may seem boring and repetitive, but it is so important.  It helps our students to be able to solve more difficult problems with ease.  Plus, it's a standard, so it's important to figure out how we are going to teach, assess, and organize fact mastery.  Hope and I got together and made a plan that we both really love!  Welcome to Ninja Fact Masters!!!
Both of my children are obsessed with ninja books, practicing karate on each other, and the sneakiness that comes along with being a ninja.  We wanted to base our fact fluency program on something that both girls and boys could enjoy.
In Ninja Fact Master we have included all sorts of ideas on how to keep the assessments organized.  We tried to think of several ideas so that any teacher could pick up the unit and incorporate it right away!
 Here you can see that we organized the different assessments using a shoe organizer.  These can be picked up at the store.  Or you can find one on Amazon HERE.  This is a simple way to store those assessments so that students can just grab the level they are working on!  We color coordinated the copies to match the level colors, but you certainly don't have to!

We also know that teachers like to keep track of their student data so that they know which level their students are on.  We have included a couple of different ways to track data for both addition and subtraction.

Because we know that our students love to level up and show off their hard work, we also thought of a number of ways that teachers can display their students' achievement.  The best thing is there is room to make it however you want it to be!  With the several different options, we are certain you can find one that best fits the needs of you and your students!
Well, we all know that students need to practice that fact fluency in order to do well on the assessments and level up.  We also included flashcards that can be printed off if you don't have access to pre-made cards!
To find out more about Ninja Fact Masters click HERE! In the unit we have explained every little thing in detail so that you can make fact mastery work for your classroom!

If you really want to go all out, the Dollar Tree near me had soooooo much cool Ninja stuff!  Vests, Masks, Belts, and MORE!!!
And for you upper-level teachers, Ninja Fact Masters:  Multiplication and Division is HERE!

And, here are some fun songs your students might enjoy!